3:35 p.m.: Game time
Florida's half of the stadium has filled in a bit, but there are still less on that side that Georgia.
The Bulldogs will receive the opening kickoff. The Gators won and deferred.
And with that, we retire the pregame blog, and move on to the game.
3:20 p.m.: Where is everybody?
Fans continue to stream into the stadium ... at a very slow ... slow ... rate.
Mostly it's the Florida fans who are taking their time. The Georgia side is more than half-filled, which in itself isn't much. But compared to the less-than-half-full Florida side, it looks like Sanford Stadium.
So where are the Gator fans? Are they that down on their team, or did the police in Stark and Lake City make a a lot of money today?
The weather at kickoff is going to be spectacular: 80 degrees (Fahrenheit, for my readers in other parts of the world), with 30 percent humidity, and almost a cloudless sky.
Oh, and Tennessee has gagged in Columbia, so South Carolina will improve to 4-2, and this here cocktail party will decide who will remain a contender for the division title.
3:00 p.m.: Ealey update
Washaun Ealey is in the starting warmup line, in between Aaron Murray and Shaun Chapas. So if you go by that, his knee is fine and he will be the starting tailback.
Ealey did look to be favoring his injured knee a bit in one pregame drill. But he went through it fine. I remember when Kris Durham was questionable and eventually didn't play, he suited up but didn't go through drills.
So for now, it looks like Ealey is a go. But I still expect to see plenty of Caleb King, and some Carlton Thomas too.
2:43 p.m.: Florida's uniforms
The Gators' pro-combat uniforms are rather understated, in my opinion. Nothing garish that will jump out on your television screen.
The stripe on the helmet is the most obvious change. But the helmet has the "Gators" script, as opposed to the "F."
2:20 p.m.: Warm-up acts
Washaun Ealey did a little running during the early walk-through. His injured knee was wrapped, and he appeared to be testing it. A better gauge will be warmups in a half-hour or so.
Uniform update: Florida's special-teamers came out in blue jerseys, white shirts and orange helmets. Georgia's were in the usual red shirts and helmets and gray pants. (But after last year, you have to make sure.)
1:55 p.m.: The reporter has lunch
Georgia has been graced by the presence of a reigning Sports Illustrated cover subject: Former Bulldog receiver Mohammed Massaquoi is here, and exchanging hugs with former teammates.
Massaquoi, now with the Cleveland Browns, is pictured on this week's SI, as part of a cover story on the concussions issue.
Also, a poster had asked whether I had any opinion on the press box food, saying that my predecessor had said the Alltel Stadium meals were among the worst of the season. In response, two things:
1-I don't think it's the business of media members to write about such things, since they can't be that important to the readers, and with starving kids in China, it's poor form to be complaining about something so trivial.
2-Dave was right. It's pretty bad.
1:45 p.m.: The reporter arrives
Well, I made it to the press box, after walking through the beer-soaked streets around Alltel Stadium. The revelry of outdoor cocktail party – whoops, the outdoor whatever – was in full-gear. Georgia and Florida fans cavorting together, occasionally trash-talking, and partaking in copious amounts of alcohol beverages.
At least one Georgia fan was wearing a red sticker that said: “Spank me, I’m naughty.” I didn’t stick around long enough to see how many people took him up on it.
Vince Dooley is up here in the press box, sitting alone and watching his son Derek coach Tennessee. At press time (press time being the second I push “send” on this blog) the Volunteers are tied with South Carolina. If somehow the Vols win, this Georgia-Florida game takes on even more importance.
One note from Georgia’s travel roster:
Mike Gilliard, the special-teamer and backup linebacker, is not on the trip. That’s not much of a surprise. Branden Smith and Washaun Ealey are here, but we’ll keep an eye on Ealey during pregame warm-ups.
As always, check in this space for pregame news, and thoughts and observations during the game.
Saturday, October 30, 2010
3:35 p.m.: Game time